Trial ramming for German Gigafactory: Tesla has the first piles sunk in Grünheide

For a few days now, there has been more activity on the construction site for the German Gigafactory at Tesla near Berlin – always diligently documented by curious people from the region with drones and Twitter accounts. Since the beginning of May, freight trains full of gravel have been coming to the Tesla site with increasing frequency (the rail route had been there before), and the neatly leveled 90 hectare area in the Brandenburg municipality of Grünheide was leisurely pulled through with construction roads. But now there are more interesting activities to report from the Gigafactory construction site: at least tests for a foundation on piles have started there.

Post disappears into the Tesla floor

This can be seen in a drone video by Twitter user @tobilindh, which was published on Tuesday. At the end of last week, the first pictures and videos of the Tesla project had appeared, which in addition to a large number of yellow construction trucks also show a ram on caterpillars with a high vertical arm. Next to it were several prefabricated piles, about ten meters long, square and concrete-gray.

On Tuesday’s new recordings on Twitter you can even see one of the piles being driven into the ground bit by bit. A tiny-looking worker with a safety vest and helmet stands in front of the high pile driver, near which there are other piles. Several are already sunk – four in a row at the same depth, two more protrude individually and at different distances from the brown floor in this group. A little further there are the same height and two further piles in line, next to which the third is just coming, disappearing with continuous small impacts in the ground.

According to @tobilindh, a total of 19 piles were sunk at this point on Tuesday, roughly where, according to the plans, the body-in -white production was to take place for the German Tesla Gigafactory ; a little further along the edge the ram drove two piles into the ground on Friday. Also to be seen in the video: an emerging warehouse for construction material and an excavator that travels sideways to draw a mysterious long rectangle in the ground.

Waiting for new applications from Tesla

At the request of the dpa agency , the Brandenburg Ministry of the Environment announced on Tuesday evening what the current Tesla work was all about: The 19 piles were sunk as “trial loads” for the construction of the Gigafactory foundation. The building was requested at the end of March, but was then put on hold because it became apparent that the foundation had to be built on piles. Tesla therefore wanted to change its partial application for the foundation as well as the overall project application , but this does not seem to have happened yet. The trial rams should be part of the preparations for this.

Last week it was announced that Tesla had submitted another advance application for the Gigafactory, but this should only refer to “shallow foundations” for some buildings and supply lines. A YouTube commentator, however, brought the possibility into play that the Tesla piles would only be rammed into the ground so deep that they would not reach the groundwater. This could alleviate possible licensing problems – a large part of the Gigafactory site is designated as a water protection area .